Chef Katie Button was born in the South, raised in the North, and educated in Europe. Now, she has returned to her roots as chef and owner of two unique restaurant concepts in Asheville, North Carolina: Cúrate Tapas Bar and Nightbell. Chef Button pursued science degrees in college and earned her master’s in biomedical engineering in Paris, France. She then changed course and devoted her pursuits to the culinary field, working for José Andrés at his restaurants in the United States and then for Ferran Adrià at the world-renowned elBulli in Spain. After meeting her husband Félix Meana, Chef Button moved to Asheville and created Heirloom Hospitality Group with Meana and her parents in 2011. Together, they opened Cúrate in 2011. The Spanish tapas restaurant received instant attention and accolades, from mentions in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to local awards and press. Nightbell, the second venue for Button and Heirloom Hospitality Group, opened in 2014. Nightbell is a contemporary American small plate restaurant with a craft cocktail bar and lounge. Button’s menu is a blend of comfort food and innovative twists on the classics, and her serious commitment to local farmers and sustainable products is evident. Chef Button was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Rising Star Chef award from 2012-2014 and was a finalist in 2014, and also received a nomination for Best Chef Southeast in 2015. Chef Button was one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2015 and hosted an international television series, The Best Chefs in the World. The young chef also won the Robb Report Culinary Master Competition over Eric Ripert, Masa Takayama, Charlie Palmer, and Michael Mina, and in January 2013 she earned a StarChefs.com Rising Stars Award and the Golden Whisk from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. Button remains dedicated to causes beyond solely culinary pursuits. Her dedication to an eco-friendly approach to restaurant ownership was recently lauded by Grist.org, and both her restaurants, Cúrate and Nightbell, are living wage certified and work with local companies and organizations to recycle, compost, and reduce food waste and environmental impact. Chef Button cooked at this year’s Human Rights Campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., a Chef Action Network summit in Asheville, and works locally with Chefs at Welcome Table and Green Opportunities’ Kitchen Ready Program. She has also attended the James Beard Foundation Boot Camp for Policy and Change, an educational program with Chefs Action Network for select chefs from across the country. Chef Button published her first cookbook in October 2016. The book, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, celebrates the broad appeal of Spanish cooking and shows readers how to recreate and adapt classic dishes in the home kitchen using seasonal local ingredients.
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